Ups and Downs in the Garden

It’s always something in the garden. I lost one of the zucchini plants this week. The whole top half of the plant suddenly died off. Some folks will be thinking “squash vine borer” but the dreaded SVB is rarely a problem here and besides, SVB damage is pretty easy to spot. Bacterial wilt is a lot more common, but this wasn’t a case of that either. After examining the stem closely, and finding no evidence of SVBs, it looks like mechanical damage. The stem of the plant was soft and had a rotten smell, but there were no signs of insects or disease. It looks like the stem of the plant split, possibly due to wind, and rot set in. With 7 inches of rain falling last week, conditions were certainly favorable for rot.

dead zucchini plant

dead zucchini plant

Fortunately the rest of the squash plants look good at this point. I haven’t even seen squash bugs yet, though I’m sure they will appear soon.

squash plants

squash plants

Right next door to the dead zucchini plant is the bed where sweet potatoes are growing. This year I decided to interplant some of those with lettuce, and that experiment seems to be going quite well. You can see the crisphead Sierra starting to head up in the below photo. The lettuce should be out before the sweet potato vines take over, and I’ll get two crops in one space. Sweet!

lettuce interplanted with sweet potatoes

lettuce interplanted with sweet potatoes

A few doors down, the broccoli patch is not doing all that great. The Gypsy variety is heading up, but the heads are not exactly the greatest looking I’ve ever grown. As I’ve said before, the fall planting of broccoli usually does much better here.

Gypsy broccoli

Gypsy broccoli

Just a few feet down from them we have the runty plants of the Packman variety. It usually does well here, but not this time. It’s been 70 days since I set out the plants, and we have a little button for a head! We’ll see how it does this fall. Last year Imperial, Diplomat and Green Magic did the best in fall, followed by Packman and Arcadia. I also grow the ‘broccolini’ type Apollo. This year I dropped Arcadia, and I’d like to narrow the field down to two or three varieties that consistently do well here. Next spring I may experiment with an early type like Blue Wind.

Packman broccoli

Packman broccoli

Nearby the broccoli are the bush beans. Last year I thought I had a problem with striped bean/cucumber beetles. I now know they are pigweed flea beetles, and they actually don’t do any damage to beans or cucumbers, though they love amaranth. They are also very picky about which plants they do eat. In the below photo they have reduced one of the pigweeds to lace, but the lamb’s quarters (and bean plant) next to it is untouched! Too bad we don’t have a bug that feeds on Bermuda grass, or some of our other favorite weeds!

damage from pigweed flea beetles

damage from pigweed flea beetles

Speaking of bugs, the Japanese beetles have arrived right on schedule. One favorite hangout is the top level of the pole beans, which they seem to use as a speed dating site. I’ll have to start my daily trips out there with a container of soapy water. The pole beans are starting to bloom, which is a welcome sight.

Japanese beetles on pole beans

Japanese beetles on pole beans

Also pretty much on schedule, the eggplants are blooming and starting to set fruit. That’s the Millionaire variety in the below photo.

Millionaire eggplant

Millionaire eggplant

I’ll close with something else that’s sweet, figuratively speaking. Many of the hostas are blooming now. I regularly spray Liquid Fence deer repellent on the hostas to keep the deer from eating them up. They really love to eat the blooms, and they seldom last very long before they are eaten up. That’s the huge Big Daddy variety blooming in the below photo. It and several other hostas are planted around the base of our giant mulberry tree.

Big Daddy hosta blooming

Big Daddy hosta blooming

That’s it for now. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from HA. And if you are a gardener, I hope your garden is giving you more ups than downs!

 

This entry was posted in Gardening and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Ups and Downs in the Garden

  1. Margaret says:

    Well, your surviving squash plants are huge! Mine don’t even look like that at the end of the season. Planting my squash out several weeks late probably isn’t going to help matters this year either. Congrats on your successful lettuce/sweet potato planting – it’s such a sense of accomplishment when we discover a new and better way of growing things.
    Margaret recently posted…Hilltop Beds UpdateMy Profile

  2. Mike R says:

    I’ve had summer squash rot like that in the past. When pulled up they had an underdeveloped root system. Maybe it’s just too much water in the soil. Japanese beetles are the nemesis of pole beans, and you’re right, they like the upper levels.
    Mike R recently posted…Refrigerator dill picklesMy Profile

  3. Marcia says:

    Liquid fence. Don’t know what I’d have growing if I didn’t have that. This year I also have fishing line fencing which is keeping the deer out. I gave an update on my deer protection plan in my last blog post.

    Your veggies are always such a marvel. Love reading about them, even the trials and tribulations.

    • Dave says:

      Thanks Marcia! The deer would eat most of our ornamentals if it weren’t for Liquid Fence. They eat even ‘deer resistant’ plants here, so I keep everything well-sprayed with it.

  4. Susie says:

    My gypsy broccoli is just heading up as well – I rarely get this far along with broccoli so I’m keeping a close eye to harvest it (as small as need be) before it goes to flower. Ditto what Margaret said … a shame about the lost squash plant but the others sure look nice!
    Susie recently posted…Steel Cut Oats and Basil Pesto “Risotto”My Profile

  5. Michelle says:

    I still can’t get over the amount of rain that you got – 7 inches – in a week. A week… I’ll take your rain, but you can keep your nasty beetles! And I know that it isn’t the liquid fence that is so sweet. That stuff sure does work though. And that’s one benefit to no rain, I only have to apply the liquid fence once. That’s too bad about the zucchini, I had something similar happen to one of my broccoli, the wind twisted it around until it fell over.
    Michelle recently posted…Harvest Monday – June 22, 2015My Profile

  6. Lily Lau says:

    Plants are terribly delicate, aren’t they? At least the rest of your garden looks pretty spectacular! 🙂
    Lily Lau recently posted…Sweaters for Penguins by SkeinzMy Profile

  7. Dave's SFG says:

    That Gypsy broccoli is strange looking but it’s broccoli and is a fairly large head, so I would take it. I’m trying Arcadia and Fiesta this year, like you, hoping to find one that does well.

  8. Daphne says:

    That Gypsy broccoli looks like some of my heads but a bit worse. This spring was not the best for pretty broccoli, but it still tastes good, so I’m not complaining. This year I grew just the one variety, Arcadia, but I think next year I need another. I want one that is a bit later I think, but has good side shoots. One type of broccoli gives me too many heads all at once.
    Daphne recently posted…Whats in a Name?My Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge